Iraq car bomb, checkpoint attack leaves 25 dead
An Iraq car bomb in the city of Kut and a checkpoint attack in Baghdad left 25 people dead on Tuesday, as a wave of attacks continued amid the US combat troop withdrawal from Iraq.
Suspected Al Qaeda-linked militants killed five policemen in the second deadly attack in a week on security checkpoints, while a car bomb in a crowded market in the southern city of Kut left at least 20 people dead and dozens injured.Skip to next paragraph
Subscribe Today to the Monitor
An Iraq Interior Ministry official speaking on condition of anonymity says the five were killed at a checkpoint on the outskirts of the affluent West Baghdad neighborhood of Mansour after gunmen with silencers opened fire on the checkpoint at dawn Tuesday. He says they left the black flag of the self-declared Islamic State of Iraq (ISI) at the site of the attack on a main highway on the edge of Mansour leading to Anbar Province.
It was the second checkpoint attack in less than a week. On Thursday, gunmen shot dead three Iraqi soldiers in the Sunni neighborhood of Adhamiya while roadside bombs near the scene of the shooting killed 13 more people, including six soldiers and police. The attackers also planted the flag of the ISI, which later claimed responsibility for the attack as a strike at what it considers a puppet government of the US.
“The people who carried out the Mansour attack are the same group that carried out the Adhamiya attack two days ago – they used the same methods,” said Qassim Atta, the Iraqi government’s Baghdad security spokesman. “This is just to prove their presence and to try to influence and impair the citizens confidence in the security forces,” he told U.S.-funded al-Hurra television.
In the normally calm city of Kut, about 100 miles south of Baghdad, a car bomb exploded in the main market center crowded with evening shoppers. Some reports said another car bomb intended to explode at the same time in the predominantly Shiite city was defused.
As US combat forces pull out before a Sept. 1 deadline reiterated by President Obama on Monday, violence has spiked with attacks concentrated on Iraqi security forces in an apparent effort to show they are incapable of maintaining order and to intimidate.
Attack in Fallujah
President Obama on Monday told a gathering of military veterans he was fulfilling his campaign promise to bring the troops home but warned there would be more sacrifices ahead.
Both US and Iraqi officials are worried about a political vacuum in Iraq coinciding with the withdrawal of US combat forces. Five months after Iraqis went to the polls, Iraqi political leaders wrangling over who will be prime minister have failed to form a coalition government.